Emails flow into our inboxes 24/7, requiring effort to keep on top of them all. Of course, not all require our immediate response. But for emails from those with whom we have personal relationships, delayed responses can foster resentment.
Do you respond to some immediately and others later — if at all? If you answered yes to that last question (and of course you did — we all do it), you’ve confirmed what those on the other side assume. Some folks have your attention and priority more than others.
Delayed Response = Lack of Priority
With personal email, lack of or very delayed responses could appear that you are ignoring the Sender or that they are not a priority. Admit that is the case.
Part of Email Etiquette is responding promptly. Why would email be any different since we prioritize every action we take daily? However, with email, there is an expectation of a speedy reply.
For goodness sake, smartphones hardly leave many folk’s hands anymore! This means that how long you take to respond is something that the other side will use to interpret where they fit in your priorities. If at all.
Regarding family, friends, and those important to you, I bet you make a point of responding pretty darned quick. But don’t think those you put on the back burner do not understand that this is precisely what you are doing. They do it themselves, so no one is fooling anyone here.
But I’m a Busy Person!
Common… who isn’t? We all prioritize our relationships. Doing so in a courteous manner that doesn’t harm those relationships is worth the time and effort.
Even if to pop off a quick response that you are busy and will be in touch, this approach requires you to think outside the bubble of me, myself, and I. This requires that you think about how your lack of response may impact those waiting for your reply.
When you are that busy, let those you want to maintain healthy relationships know that. Then, taking the required few minutes here or there to send a quick and courteous response shouldn’t cramp your style that much.
You need to start establishing expectations and work on getting more organized. For example, if you know you have a crazy time frame approaching — let folks know that. Then they know what to expect and won’t assume you are ignoring them.
Remember the Golden Rule
Why not check out my article on email organization to try and free up a little extra time?